The other fun thing is seeing things I wrote about as fiction turn up in the real world. Like Terra’s hot science project in my YA novel, SYNAPSE – the discovery that promises to make Dr. Burlington rich if he can just find a way to dig the specifics out of her newly-damaged brain.
In SYNAPSE, Terra is taking garbage (something nobody wants) and using a genetically engineered yeast strain to turn it into fuel. Not so far-fetched when you recognize that people have been doing this with corn and sugar cane stalks for a while now. Terra’s innovation is to engineer a strain of yeast that makes use of something we wanted to get rid of anyway – trash.
Here’s the Science News version - Seaweed Fuels Bioenergy Optimism developed at a company in Berkeley. Hey, cool! That’s where Terra started out in SYNAPSE, and where I did my own gene jockey work once upon a time.
So Anyway, a company in Berkeley has genetically engineered a strain of E. Coli bacteria to be able to do the same thing Terra did, only with seaweed where Terra used trash.
The cool thing about using seaweed instead of corn, for example, is you don’t have to waste fresh water, or farmland. You don’t have to pour a bunch of potentially polluting fertilizers or weed killers out there. And you aren’t going to be running a bunch of diesel-guzzling, smog-spewing tractors back and forth over the piece of ocean where the seaweed grows.
Now why didn’t Terra think of that? Next time! If she gets her brilliant brain back. You might want to read SYNAPSE and see.